Bears Rescued From Run-Down Pakistani Zoo Starting New Lives In Jordan

These images show how two bears, the last animals at a rundown zoo in Pakistan that is now closing its doors for good, have been rescued and taken to Jordan to enjoy a new lease of life.

Animal rights organization FOUR PAWS told Real Press in a statement today that the bears have now reached Jordan.

They said: “Following the successful rescue of the now world-famous elephant Kaavan two weeks ago, global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS managed to evacuate the last two animals of Marghazar Zoo, Himalayan brown bears Suzie and Bubloo, on 16th December.

“FOUR PAWS transferred the bears via plane from Pakistan to Jordan and closed the zoo in Islamabad for good.”

Credit: FOUR PAWS/Real Press
Dr. Amir Khalil and a FOUR PAWS team are doing surgery on a female brown bear at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan on 31st August 2020

The rescue took place at Marghazar zoo, in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, and FOUR PAWS’ Head of PR International, Martin Bauer, told Real Press in a statement today (Thursday 17th December) that the animals are now in Jordan.

In a written statement, the organisation said: “Following the successful rescue of the now world-famous elephant Kaavan two weeks ago, global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS managed to evacuate the last two animals of Marghazar Zoo, Himalayan brown bears Suzie and Bubloo, on 16th December.

“FOUR PAWS transferred the bears via plane from Pakistan to Jordan, where they will find a species-appropriate home at the sanctuary “Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife” – run by the Princess Alia Foundation and FOUR PAWS.

“The departure of Suzie and Bubloo, means there are finally no more animals left in the zoo in Islamabad, which is finally closing its gates for good. Since August 2020, FOUR PAWS, together with Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change, the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) and financially supported by American businessman Eric S. Margolis, has evacuated over 30 animals from Marghazar Zoo, including wolves, deer, rabbits, monkeys, and elephant Kaavan.

Credit: FOUR PAWS/Real Press
The last remaining animals from Marghazar Zoo, bears Bubloo and Suzie, are being rescued and brought to FOUR PAWS partner sanctuary in Al Ma’wa, Jordan on 16th December 2020

“The two bears Suzie and Bubloo have endured years of suffering. Before they came to Marghazar Zoo, they were abused as so-called dancing bears. To prevent them from hurting their owner and spectators, both bears had almost all their teeth removed. The FOUR PAWS team also found serious behavioural issues in the animals. Vets had to perform an emergency surgery on 17-year-old bear Suzie back in August 2020, as she was suffering from a badly infected chest wound likely due to a recent tumour removal. “After witnessing the departure of their fellow zoo inhabitant Kaavan, Suzie and Bubloo are also finally starting a new life.

“With their departure to Jordan, we can give the bears the medical treatment and care they desperately need. After almost four months of hard work in Pakistan, we are locking the gates of Marghazar Zoo once and for all. The last-minute cancellation of the bears’ export permits was a brief setback last week but thankfully the Islamabad High Court and IWMB ruled once again in favour of animal welfare. The transfer would also never have been possible without the support of the Pakistani community, as well as the financial help of American businessman Eric S. Margolis,” says Dr Amir Khalil, FOUR PAWS veterinarian and head of the rescue mission.”

The 28-hectare Marghazar Zoo was originally opened in 1978 as a wildlife sanctuary in the Margalla Hills in Islamabad but was later converted into a zoo. The zoo has been owned by Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan since its establishment. But, in the past four years, over two dozen animals have died at Marghazar Zoo, including six lion cubs, according to FOUR PAWS.

The zoo’s poor keeping conditions have repeatedly made international headlines. Finally, in May 2020, the Islamabad High Court ordered the closure of the run-down zoo, but this was not soon enough to save two lions. In July 2020, shocking footage circulated of the lions with a fire in their small enclosure at Marghazar Zoo. Inexperienced animal handlers set the fire to force the big cats into transport boxes. Both lions died at the end of July as a result of smoke inhalation. The zoo received special attention for its most famous resident, the Asian elephant Kaavan, whom FOUR PAWS relocated to Cambodia at the end of November 2020.


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